How To Decrease Cortisol With Supplements
Changing your diet is a long-term strategy for reducing cortisol, but you might want to jump-start your efforts with supplements to get results faster.
Fortunately, theres an entire group of supplements that specifically work to minimize the negative effects of stress.
These unique substances, known as adaptogens, are herbal remedies that increase your resilience to mental, physical, and environmental stress.
They work by reducing the stress hormone cortisol while strengthening function of the adrenal glands.
Adaptogens neither stimulate nor sedate, but instead act like a thermostat, bringing your body into a balanced state known as homeostasis.
Here are the main adaptogens that have been found to effectively reduce cortisol:
Not sure which supplements to start with?
Its always wise to make sure youve got your essential nutrient needs met first.
Confirm that you have adequate intake of vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Next, Id suggest starting with ashwagandha.
This traditional Ayurvedic remedy excels in stress reduction and decreases cortisol significantly more than many other supplements.
Laughing And Having Fun
It is hard to feel stressed when having a good time, so finding time to have fun can also lower a persons cortisol levels. One study showed cortisol levels decreasing in response to laughter.
Being happy and having a positive outlook appear to be related to lower cortisol levels, and happiness has other benefits too, such as lower blood pressure and a stronger immune system.
Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Every dietitian we spoke with mentioned the positive impact an adequate night’s sleep can have on one’s cortisol levels. Cortisol rises and falls based on our sleep cycles: it’s highest just after we wake up and lowest right before we hit the hay. So, it’s no surprise that sleep and cortisol levels are so heavily interconnected.
“Due to cortisol levels being linked to circadian rhythm, making sure you are getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night will help keep cortisol levels normal,” explains White. “This can also help keep the fat off.” According to Wake Forest researchers, people who sleep five hours or less put on two and a half times more belly fat, while those who sleep more than eight hours pack on slightly less than that.
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Natural Beta Blockers For Anxiety
There are a high number of people living with excessive anxiety. Because of this, medications to help are in high demand. However, anti-anxiety drugs have a dark side. They can lead to addiction.
Moreover, common prescriptions for anxiety may produce undesirable side effects. These include depression, low libido, as well as suicidal thoughts and seizures.
And heres another concern with anti-anxiety drugs. They do not actually normalize neurotransmitter activity. Instead, they alter brain chemistry.
This is especially the case with drugs called SSRIs . One major problem with SSRIs is they lose their effectiveness over time.
Because of this, some people may want natural alternatives to beta blockers. Natural remedies may be safer and more effective.
In fact, both this study and this one conclude the efficacy of Propranolol for anxiety is insufficient to support its use for anxiety disorders. Thats also a reason why you may prefer using a natural treatment.
Is There Any Truth To Cortisol Blocker Claims
Finding the Truth
Cortisol blockers help decrease your cortisol level. Cortisol is a hormone, sometimes called the stress hormone. Its main job is to help your body function well in times of stress.
Cortisol blockers can be effective in treating high cortisol level disorders, such as Cushings syndrome. However, theyre also marketed as a dietary supplement that can help you curb your appetite, lose weight, and build muscle.
To examine whether or not theres any truth to those claims, it helps to know what cortisol is and what role it plays in your health.
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Eat Oxytocin Promoting Foods
Yes! You can eat yourself into a more positive and calm state. Balanced-blood sugar, loads of tryptophan rich foods, healthy fats, antioxidants and B vitamins to support your brain chemistry result in higher level of serotonin, higher levels of oxytocin and lower levels of stress.
Be sure to check out the following calming superfoods to feed your body into a more oxytocin induced biochemical state.
Black sesame seeds
Whole milk yogurt or kefir
Cortisol And Stress: The Basics
Cortisol is one of several hormones the body produces naturally. Cortisol levels do go up when youre stressed. But it doesnt deserve its bad rap.
Cortisol supports overall health, Dr. Lin says. It helps us wake up, gives us energy during the day and lowers at night to help us sleep and rest.
The problem arises when chronic stress keeps cortisol levels high for the long haul. High cortisol levels over weeks or months can lead to inflammation and a host of mental and physical health problems, from anxiety to weight gain to heart disease.
Dark Chocolate Reduces Stress Hormones
Of all the foods available on planet Earth, those produced from the bean of the cacao tree are the most magical, interesting, and delectable. Our long- standing love for chocolate is now being matched by scientific research on its health benefits when consumed in the right form.
A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Bern in Switzerland has shown the consumption of dark chocolate can reduce the effects of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. This study provides another strong reason to eat a moderate amount of dark chocolate each day to promote better health.
One of the key areas of research into the benefits of chocolate consumption is its effect on cardiovascular disease. Much of the benefits are attributed to its high content of flavanols, a type of polyphenol antioxidants found in foods like cocoa, tea, berries, and wine. A growing amount of recent research suggests that:
- Chocolate flavanols are especially important in protecting against damage to cholesterol and the lining of the arteries.
- Chocolate flavanols prevent the excessive clumping together of blood platelets that can cause blood clots.
- Frequent chocolate consumption is associated with a nearly 40% reduced risk for heart disease and a 30% reduced risk for a stroke.
Another mechanism for chocolate flavanol consumption substantially lowering cardiovascular mortality may be its ability to dampen the stress response.
Practice Mental Health Every Morning
So you have a skincare routine, a wake-up ritual , and maybe even a coffee schedule . So why not also include some mental health in your morning routine? Studies show that meditating in the morning , has dramatic effects on the brain throughout the day including boosting self control, improving productivity, and decreasing stress or anxiety.
If meditation is not your style, you can also go for a walk in nature, journal morning pages, or pick a daily mantra. Not only will adding mental health to your morning routine change your brain for the rest of the day, but your long-term cortisol levels will drop, too.
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Natural Ways To Balance Female Hormones Without Medications
Do you know how hormones can affect people in different ways and how they have the power to change your mood and to keep your body healthy?
They are a part of the endocrine system and have an effect on different processes like metabolism, reproduction and sexual function. Endocrine glands are the groups of cells that produce hormones.
However, if you are under stress and not following a proper diet then there is the possibility of you suffering from hormonal imbalance. There are two major types of hormones that affect women’s health, which include stress hormones and sex hormones.
Having the right balance of these hormones will help you in having plenty of energy, deep sleep, healthier menstrual cycles, more contented dispositions, easier menopauses and strong bones.
Whenever you tend to experience stress there are chances of your body releasing added hormones, which would probably result in hormonal imbalances if the threat doesn’t get resolved.
An excess of stress hormones will lead to the breakdown of bones, skin, muscles as well as brain tissue.
If you don’t eat the right kind of food that contains nutrients, then your body cannot produce hormones accordingly as well as maintain hormonal balance.
Here are some of the natural ways to balance female hormones without medications.
Adrenal Insufficiency And Cortisol: What To Know
Adrenal insufficiency happens when the adrenal glands dont make enough cortisol. This can happen when the adrenal glands do not work properly or when the pituitary gland doesnt direct the adrenal glands to make cortisol.
Symptoms of adrenal insufficiency can include:
- Severe fatigue and weakness
- Low blood sugar
- Darkened skin on the face, neck, and back of hands
People with adrenal insufficiency may need to take a type of steroid hormone medication, called glucocorticoids, to raise their cortisol levels.
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Try Ashwagandha Or Phosphatidylserine
Next, Id suggest starting with either the traditional Ayurvedic remedy ashwagandha or phosphatidylserine, depending on which symptoms of stress youre experiencing.
Ashwagandha excels at stress reduction and decreases cortisol significantly more than many other supplements.
Its a good choice if you have anxiety, insomnia, or depression caused by stress.
Phosphatidylserine is another proven cortisol reducer.
Its also an excellent brain supplement that improves memory and protects against mental decline, while enhancing physical performance.
The Dangers Of Excess Cortisol
Before we look at how to lower cortisol, lets take a look at why too much of it is so hazardous to your health and mental well-being.
When you face a potential threat or danger, your bodys stress response, often called the fight-or-flight response, is triggered.
First, the stress hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine are released in a quick burst.
They quickly dissipate after the stressful situation is over and dont hang around to do any damage.
That is followed by the release of cortisol.
” High levels of cortisol can kill brain cells by literally stimulating them to death.
When your life is one crisis after another, your body continuously pours out cortisol.
This leads to a chronically elevated cortisol level, and this has some serious health implications.
If you get your caffeine from coffee, soda, or energy drinks, you may want to switch to tea.
Green tea contains about one-quarter the caffeine of coffee and it also contains two unique relaxing compounds, l-theanine and EGCG .
According to nutritional biochemist Shawn Talbott, PhD, author of The Cortisol Connection Diet, l-theanine is an amino acid that counteracts the cortisol-increasing tendency of caffeine.
EGCG has been found to be a potent inhibitor that blocks the formation of cortisol.
It also increases the relaxation neurotransmitter GABA.
If green tea isnt your favorite, you can get similar effects from black tea.
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Sometimes Called The Stress Hormone Cortisol Plays A Role In Many Diseases And Conditions
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that helps the body respond to stress. Its sometimes called the stress hormone. Thats because levels of cortisol in the body spike during times of high stress.
Steroid hormones are a category of hormones synthesized naturally in the body from cholesterol. Collectively, they carry out a wide range of functions in the body.
High Cortisol And Stress: Why Are You So Stressed All The Time
You know this cushy, comfortable modern world thing weve got here? It didnt always exist. Your body is the product of a kill-or-be-killed environment where every day was a struggle for survival.
Naturally, your body is hardwired to protect you from real or perceived dangers. When you encounter a predator or rival tribe , it sets off your bodys protective alarm system and releases a flood of adrenaline and cortisol to keep you alive.
Adrenaline gets your heart racing and floods your body with energy. Cortisol affects everything from your blood glucose levels to your mood, energy, and blood pressure, and its responsible for shutting off non-essential bodily functions in a fight.
Basically, cortisol and adrenaline help you evaluate the threat and give you the energy you need to either fight that growling sabertooth tiger or nope out of there before youre dinner.
OK, so if you arent fighting extinct mammalian predators anymore, why is there a problem? The thing is, the stress of the modern world is actually EVEN WORSE than fighting a predator from time to time, and youll never believe how every little thing youre exposed to every day sends your stress-response system into disarray.
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Cushing’s Syndrome And Cortisol: What To Know
Cushing’s syndrome happens when there is too much cortisol in the blood for a prolonged period of time. This can cause physical and mental changes.
Cushing’s syndrome symptoms may include:
- Weight gain
- Skin that bruises easily
- Problems thinking clearly
The most common cause of Cushing’s syndrome is taking steroid-type drugs, such as prednisone, which are structurally very similar to cortisol. This type of Cushing’s syndrome typically goes away after medication is stopped.
Cushing’s syndrome also can be caused by a small tumor on the pituitary gland.
Adrenal Fatigue And Hair Loss
Given the hectic lifestyles and tight schedules we are confronted with in the modern day, adrenal insufficiency is a common problem among working individuals. Since the adrenals also produce considerable amounts of cortisol, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, hormone imbalances are possible should these glands ever fail to work at their full potential. The hair shaft will then be starved as it will not receive the protein and minerals required for healthy hair growth. Women also need small quantities of testosterone, and hair loss is one of the most frequent consequences of testosterone underproduction. Adrenal fatigue is caused by prolonged stress e.g. problems in the workplace, daily traffic jams, bereavement, personal concerns etc. Avoid this by leading a healthy lifestyle and eliminating the sources of stress in your life.
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Natural Beta Blocker Alternatives For Anxiety
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July 31, 2019 By Judd Handler
Do natural beta blockers exist to help relieve anxiety without harmful side effects? If so, are they as effective as pharmaceuticals? And how exactly do they work?
Its estimated that almost one in five American adults are affected by anxiety. Thats about 40 million people over the age of 18. And the conventional medical treatment is beta blockers.
Symptoms Of High Cortisol Levels
According to research done by the Genetics Learning Science Center, the long-term danger of having high cortisol is that it activates the fight-or-flight response, which temporarily shuts down normal reproductive, digestive and immune functions. The body targets these systems for shutdown because it doesnt need them for immediate survival.
Sensory nerve cells pass the perception of a threat, or stress, from the environment to the hypothalamus in the brain. This signals the pituitary and primary adrenal glands to produce more cortisol. If this cycle goes on for too long, someone becomes more susceptible to all sorts of illnesses, infections and hormonal problems.
Some clues that may signal youre living with high cortisol levels include:
- weight gain, especially around the abdomen/stomach
- a puffy, flushed face
- higher susceptibility to infections
Progesterone: The Unsung Hero
Remember when I said comparing testosterone and estrogen was a misnomer? Well, heres the reason. Progesterone, like testosterone and estrogen, is also a steroid hormone produced in the body, but unlike estrogen, it is not a stress hormone. Progesterone acts as a protective hormone in the body, similar to testosterone, encouraging the body to exist in its growth and repair state instead of the survival state. It shouldnt come as a surprise that progesterone is attributed to be the cause of womens glowing skin during pregnancy due to high levels of progesterone. Excess estrogen on the other hand has been associated with:
- Oxidative stress
I would also like to mention that high levels of estrogen are very often found on the outside of cancerous tumors, creating an almost protective layer surrounding the tumor.
Adrenal Fatigue And Cortisol
The term adrenal fatigue in recent years has been used in the media and by some healthcare practitioners to describe a host of vague symptoms, including tiredness, body aches, nervousness, and sleep and digestive problems. The general idea is that constant stress may cause the cortisol-producing adrenal glands to burn out and stop producing their important hormones.
Theres no scientific evidence that adrenal fatigue exists. The idea that stress causes the adrenal glands to burn out and stop making cortisol is not consistent with scientific understanding of how the adrenal glands work. Stress actually increases cortisol production.
Neither the Endocrine Society the worlds largest organization of hormone disorder doctors nor any other major medical organization recognizes adrenal fatigue as a legitimate medical diagnosis.
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Pinpoint Your Comfort Food Triggers
Try writing down what you eat in an effort to get a better idea of when you stress eat. “Keeping a food journal for a week can help you pinpoint the times where you indulge in comfort foods or when you make sensible, healthier choices,” says Balk. “If dinner before a big test or meeting tends to be fried ‘comfort food,’ it’s worthwhile to stop the cycle and replace that emotion with a healthier choice or receive consolation another way.”